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November 22, 2011

ANSI Hosts Webinar

The ACTA Group

Guidelines for Selecting Product-Related Environmental Sustainability Standards and/or Ecolabeling Programs

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) hosted on November 22, 2011, a webinar delivered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the General Services Administration (GSA) titled Guidelines for Selecting Product-Related Environmental Sustainability Standards and/or Ecolabeling Programs. The webinar provided an update on ongoing federal efforts to develop guidelines for federal procurement of environmentally friendly and sustainable products. According to the GSA co-chair, Brennan Conaway, and the EPA co-chair, Alison Kinn Bennett, ANSI will post on its website later this week an article concerning this topic that will include a link to the slides from the webinar (see online).

The ANSI webinar follows a 2009 ANSI workshop on sustainable products standards. A final report from that workshop is available online. The webinar in part discussed efforts to implement the mandate in Executive Order No. 13514, published on October 5, 2009, titled Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance.

In particular, Section 13 of the Executive Order directs GSA, in coordination with EPA, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), and “other agencies as appropriate,” to review and provide recommendations concerning procurement of products and services that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The current effort, jointly led by EPA and GSA, includes coordination among many federal agencies to assess a wide range of existing product and services standards that address a variety of attributes in different ways and to identify those that have been successful.

Conaway and Bennett acknowledged the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and its October 2010 proposed revisions to its Green Guides as an important partner in this effort. The eventual objective of this interagency effort is to provide guidance to both the federal procurement community as well as industry concerning the standards that should be considered for different types of sustainable products and services. This Interagency Workgroup is preparing a draft final report that it plans to send to the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality by February 2012. Currently, there is a plan to make the draft final report available for public comment in March 2012.